Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin concedes losing GOP reelection bid

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After contesting the Nov. 5 election, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin conceded his loss Thursday after a recanvassing of the results made no difference in the outcome.

Bevin, a Republican who lost despite an endorsement from President Donald Trump, said the state would have a change in “governorship based on the vote of the people.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat with whom Bevin fought legal battles for much of his first, four-year term, won the race by 5,136 votes.

“I’m not going to contest these numbers that have come in,” Bevin said, claiming that members of his campaign knew of unspecified irregularities “but not enough to cause us to think there’s going to be meaningful change.”

Bevin has been at odds with the attorney general for nearly all of his term, and has questioned whether the state should complete Kentucky Wired, the award-winning, bond-financed project to provide high-speed internet fiber optic broadband access across the state.

In 2018, the Legislature failed to include line-item funding for debt-service on the bonds forcing Bevin to veto the spending measure. Lawmakers overrode his veto, although they added funds back into the budget for the debt payments.

Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, and his running mate Lt. Gov.-elect Jacqueline Coleman will take office Dec. 10.

“I truly wish the attorney general well as the next governor of this state as he assumes the responsibilities of this state,” Bevin said.

Beshear and Coleman said they plan to focus on creating higher-paying jobs, affordable health care, protecting and funding pensions, and supporting public education.

On Friday, Beshear announced the appointment of a 150-member transition team.

“We are truly excited about this opportunity,” he said. “We will never stop working to serve every single Kentuckian, including the lost, the lonely and the left behind.”

While he was attorney general, Beshear frequently took the Legislature and Bevin to court over the governor’s appointments and policies, and legislation aimed at restructuring the state’s ailing pension plans, which have some of the worst funded ratios in the county.

Beshear must now work with a Legislature dominated in both chambers by Republicans and a new Republican attorney general.

Daniel Cameron, 33, was elected as the state’s first black attorney general.

Cameron’s career has included serving as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legal counsel in Washington, D.C. He has worked for Frost Brown Todd in Louisville since June 2017.

In his campaign, Cameron said he would reestablish the “credibility” of the attorney general’s office by depoliticizing it, and that he would do a better job leveraging relationships with federal agencies.

“We’re gonna get back to the bread-and-butter basics of being the state’s top law enforcement officer,” Cameron said during his election night victory speech. “We have a responsibility in the coming days to work with whomever, whether you have a Republican designation by your name or a Democratic designation.”

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Elections Matt Bevin State of Kentucky Kentucky